Provence: France's leading rosé wine producer
Rosé production –similarly to other wines - is not governed or defended by any legal texts, so the controversy that arose some time ago over mixing whites and reds is far from over. Considered as somewhat inferior to its red and white peers for many years, rosé has now become the colour of summer and consumer enthusiasm has prompted wine makers to make genuine progress and vie for excellence. Today's choice of thirst-quenching pale ('grey'), fruity and dry rosés is not only vast, but first-rate too.
Cellar of 'rosé'
Rosé is the oldest-known wine and first appeared on Mediterranean shores well over a thousand years ago. The study of Greek and Egyptian representations shows that pale wines resembling rosés were elaborated from crushed or pressed grapes, without maceration (which is the basis of red wine). Monks were also fans of this 'vinum clarum', the ancestor of Bordeaux's Clairet rosé. The Renaissance too had a taste for this wine that was neither white nor red, as reflected in the details of carafes and glasses shown in Flemish and Dutch paintings. Reds only started to gain ground over rosés in the 18th century. After the phylloxera crisis, the vineyards were replanted with red grape varieties and although rosés had reigned over the wine world for centuries, tastes switched very clearly to red. Rosé wine fell more or less into disrepute on the wine market, and has only won recognition again fairly recently. But today, rosé is the word! Consumption has tripled in the last 20 years and represented one-third of all wine consumption in 2013. Friendly-priced, thirst-quenching, varied, easy and pretty, rosé has brought a wind of change to our dinner tables.
A rose or a 'rosé' ?
Wine was first grown in Provence – France's biggest rosé producer – by the Phocean Greeks, who planted vines all the way into Marseille. It would be fair to say that the city, then called Massilia, was born thanks to wine. Grape seeds have recently been found during archaeological digs in the Bourse quarter. The local vineyards offer up magnificent and varied landscapes: Provence's Wine Route spans stunning natural sites such as Sainte Victoire mountain and the hills of Bandol, overlooking the translucent waters of the Côte Bleue coast. Wine is as intrinsic to Provence as thyme and rosemary. Vines thrive throughout the region on stony ground, rubbing shoulders with olive groves. In fact, wine and olive oil are frequently grown together! Wine and gastronomy have also taken a cultural turn in Provence in recent years, with many high-level artistic events hosted by the local vineyards including 'Art & Wine in the Var' at various domains, Opera Evenings at Château Thuerry and Art & Architecture at Château La Coste, cleverly combining pleasures of the palate and the mind... Rosé wines also have pride of place in the South simply because local dishes, such as lamb en croûte, stuffed vegetables, sea bass with fennel, grilled sardines and artichoke barigoule, were made for it…. Whether fish or meat, the Mediterranean's aromatic cuisine is always better paired with pink. The region is home to some rare grape varieties too: the Cinsault grape grown in Cassis offers up pale, fruity and delicate rosés, while Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes add structure and character a little further down the road in Les-Baux-de-Provence. Provence's salmon-tinted rosés are light, fruity, tender, racy and aromatic, pairing perfectly with the flavours of the Med.
"When wine is open you have to drink it- especially if it's good"
"So Food so Good" is a blog created by a culinary journalist who simply loves scrutinizing the most creative dishes on offer from every angle! Cécile Cau talks about the restaurants she loves, and regularly delivers up her favourite recipes and little secrets unveiled by her favourite chefs.
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